How on-site search can drive holiday revenue & help e-commerce sites compete against major retailers

This holiday season is set to break a new record, with online sales reaching beyond $100 billion, according to Adobe’s recent predictions. Following Black Friday and Cyber Monday outcomes, most of that revenue will be divided among Amazon and a handful of large-scale e-commerce sites, including Walmart, Target and Best Buy.

With so many dollars at stake, there is still a sizeable amount of market share available for smaller online retailers. But what can e-commerce sites do to compete with the likes of Amazon or Walmart?

An optimized on-site search platform could very well be the answer to capturing more conversions and driving more sales during the holidays. Unfortunately, many e-commerce sites may be missing the boat by not paying enough attention to their on-site search efforts.

How on-site search impacts revenue

According to SLI Systems, which offers an AI-powered e-commerce solution, visitors who use on-site search make purchases at a 2.7x greater rate than website visitors who only browse products. If searchers have indicated exactly what they want — specifying a color, size or material within their query — SLI Systems says it’s the e-commerce site’s job to quickly deliver the product that best matches their search.

“Don’t make these folks navigate their way to what they want. No extra clicks. You’ll likely lose them even if you have a great price and an amazing free shipping offer,” says Bob Angus, an e-commerce consultant, in a post on SLI System’s company blog.

Eli Finkelshteyn, founder and CEO of on-site search platform Construtor.io, says most of the of the on-site search market is still predominantly made up of companies that have built platforms in-house.

“I think there’s an erroneous belief among a lot of companies that search is really core to what they do,” says Finkelshteyn.

“At the end of the day, I think, for e-commerce websites, they’ve got things they need to build themselves, that no one can help them with — things like merchandising, making sure you have the lowest prices, quick delivery, that you have the product that customers want — but search is adjacent to that.”

Finkelshteyn says companies need to make sure their on-site search is optimized so that consumers find the products they want.

“I think that’s notoriously difficult to do,” says Finkelshteyn.

With an on-site search function, you may only be serving up a limited number of results. If a consumer is searching your site for a specific product, Finkelshteyn says it is imperative your on-site search knows how to deliver the most relevant products.

The technology driving an optimized on-site search experience

Constructor.io’s platform incorporates a number of technologies, including the integration of machine learning to improve personalized auto-suggestion results.

“Typo-tolerance is automatic with us. We do that using phonetic and typo-graphic dissonances,” says Finkelshteyn, “What that means, essentially, is that we’re mapping how a word is pronounced to the canonical word in your data set.”

For example, if someone is searching for a Kohler faucet but enters a search for Koler — they will receive the correct product match.

Finkelshteyn says another fairly common on-site search challenge is typographical misspellings — when someone simply enters a typo. An effective on-site search platform should be able to recognize common misspellings and still surface relevant products.

On-site search from a brand’s point of view

Dennis Goedegebuure serves as the VP of growth and SEO for sporting apparel company Fanatics. The company operates more than 300 online and offline partner stores. A portion of those stores handle the e-commerce business for all major professional and sports leagues.

“I work very closely with the on-site search teams to make sure the sites differentiate themselves with the offers we give our users,” says Goedegebuure.

The VP of growth says on-site search plays a crucial role in Fanatics’ e-commerce business.

“When you capture a visit, you would like to offer your customer the best selection. So making sure they get the best selection at the best price for the best value to make the sale is obviously top priority,” says Goedegebuure.

According to Goedegebuure, it’s not only about product competition, but the competition among online retailers for share of wallet.

“The customer only has a certain amount of money to spend, you would like to make sure they spend it with you.”

Goedegebuure’s teams are constantly running tests to fine-tune their sites’ on-site search functions.

“We’re running a bunch of experiments all the time, from sizing of the pictures to the little icons that we add to the search, to sort-order, to the number of items in the search result page,” says Goedegebuure. “We’re running constant experiments to find an optimal configuration of our search and to improve the conversions we get out of the traffic.”

According to Goedegebuure, the on-site search tests his teams are running have helped identify a definite sweet-spot for the number of items displayed in search results, as well as determining how the sizing of a picture can impact conversion rates.

On-site search for the holidays

In terms of holiday preparation, Goedegebuure says Fanatics on-site search algorithms may be tweaked to align with holiday promotions.

“If we have a brand on sale — like our own Fanatics brand — these might be pushed up to the top because there are better pricing points,” says Goedegebuure, “If an item goes off sale, you need to adjust for that.”

Finkelshteyn says one of the major on-site search mistakes he sees companies making this time of year is failing to refresh their index rankings.

“If you have a search index with rankings you’ve built over the last year, you still might be optimizing for searches that are not really seasonal right now,” says Finkelshteyn, “For example, if somebody searches for the word ‘blanket’ during the summer, you probably want to give them a beach blanket. If somebody searches for the word ‘blanket’ during the winter, you probably want to give them a warm blanket.”

Whether your company has built its on-site search platform in-house or is using a vendor platform, making sure it is optimized for the holiday e-commerce surge should be a top priority. As we enter the final days of the shopping season, there is still much revenue up for grabs.

Adobe’s latest reports found that holiday e-commerce had reached $50 billion by the end of November, leaving more than $50 billion of its predicted $100 billion in revenue to be claimed by the year’s end.

For many e-commerce companies, fine-tuning their on-site search algorithms may be the most profitable move they could make this holiday season — and beyond.

[This article first appeared on Marketing Land.]

Advanced SEO Analysis – Part 1: SEO Research & Wisdom Of The Crowd

A couple of years ago, I was invited to speak at the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle on the topic of SEO and competitive intelligence. It is an area of SEO I’m passionate about, not only because it is one of the most difficult things in SEO to scale and do right,  but also because it is one of the foundations of a good SEO program.

Before I dive into outlining one of the advanced approaches to SEO analysis that I shared at the conference, it’s important to understand the genesis of the approach.

Before I was building the machine-learning algorithms behind our Enterprise SEO platform, I spent a number of years building and running an Enterprise SEO consulting firm and agency. We were a small team (less than 15 people at the time), but we were growing quickly.

One of the biggest challenges we faced was being able to scale the task of conducting in-depth research into a client’s situation as quickly and as consistently as possible — irrespective of the team member working on it. From learning about the client’s business lines and the terminology used in their industry to understanding the key industry players/competitors/influencers in the space, research formed the basis of all our planning and tactics for the client.

When running an agency (in-house or external), you have to figure out processes that are repeatable and scalable. This is the hallmark of teams that excel at delivering stellar results versus those that fail despite a tremendous amount of effort. Since research forms the bedrock of any good SEO team, getting good at doing it right was essential to our growth and success.

Research (and analysis) is a complex and time-consuming task, whether it’s keyword research, influencer research or even competitive research. The problem with any kind of research is that the quality of research “depends.” It depends on:

    The quality of the data sources usedThe researcher (or the “human element”)

The depth and breadth of coverage offered by the data sources (or lack thereof) has a significant impact on the quality of the research. Too many data sources can lead to unnecessary noise (as anyone who has used the keyword planner tool can attest to), while too little data depth means that important information may be missed in the consideration set.

When it comes to the “human element,” the quality of research is highly dependent on the researcher’s experience, education, knowledge base, vocabulary, understanding of the industry, level of involvement, attitude and a variety of other hard and soft factors.

While there are plenty of good sources for data nowadays for keyword research, influencer research and so on, there are still not many good systems or methods to help reduce the impact of the “human element” in research.

This is where we developed a methodology that we termed “wisdom of the crowds.” The name was no accident — the theory we leveraged was influenced by methods used in the stock markets for many decades and by a book published in 2005 by James Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations.

If you’ve heard about consensus estimates in the stock markets, or Delphi methods of forecasting, you’re already familiar with the basic concept. If you haven’t heard of these methods, don’t worry — we’ll cover in just a second.

Wikipedia defines “wisdom of the crowds” as:

…the process of taking into account the collective opinion of a group of individuals rather than a single expert to answer a question. A large group’s aggregated answers to questions involving quantity estimation, general world knowledge, and spatial reasoning has generally been found to be as good as, and often better than, the answer given by any of the individuals within the group. An intuitive and often-cited explanation for this phenomenon is that there is idiosyncratic noise associated with each individual judgment, and taking the average over a large number of responses will go some way toward canceling the effect of this noise.

Essentially, when the wisdom of the crowds is applied to SEO, it leverages data on multiple competitors in order to surface the most important data points. It allows you to focus in a way that eliminates noise that occurs due to any specific competitor’s data or the researcher’s personal background.

This is best understood with an example. Take the instance of keyword research. Typically, keyword research would involve the following tasks:

    Identify a few root keywords that relate to the client’s industry and products/services offered.Navigate to Google keyword planner.Type in the keyword related to the client.Download the list of keywords returned.Identify all the slightly longer, more specific versions of the keyword from the list.Repeat the process.Put all keywords in Excel and follow your own process for cleaning up the list (removing irrelevant keywords, filtering out based on search volume, etc.).

This process is an incredibly huge waste of time — you could spend tens of hours on it and still completely miss the most effective keywords. Why? First, there is a tremendous amount of “noise” or irrelevant data returned by the data source. Second, there is no validation of the relevance of the keyword(s) to the client’s industry — the researcher’s knowledge and experience in the industry play a huge part in what is kept and what is thrown out in the analysis.

Consider this alternative approach, which leverages wisdom of the crowd:

    Identify the page on your (or your client’s) site that you wish to research for keywords.Identify at least 3 (the more the better) pages from various competitor sites that rank for the core product or service name that the page is relevant for. For example, if you have a page about “New York hotels,” look for the top ranking pages from different competitor sites for that keyword.Take your pick of your favorite keyword intelligence tool — SEMrush, KeywordSpy, SpyFu or a more targeted, industry-specific index such as what we offer at seoClarity (shameless plug!). Remember that a data source that offers significant breadth and depth is critical to a good analysis.Download the keywords that each of the competitor pages rank for.Compile the downloaded data for all competitors into a single Excel workbook and create a pivot table to quickly view how many competitors rank for the same keyword.Pick the keywords where two or more competitors rank for a keyword but your page doesn’t.

That’s it! By ensuring that you look at the keywords that two or more competitors are ranking for and you aren’t, you eliminate a tremendous amount of the noise associated with traditional keyword research.

Here is a Venn diagram that will help visualize the process. The keywords that are part of the overlapping sections are the ones that are common among the two competitor pages and are strong candidates for your own keyword set to focus on.

With this research methodology you can be confident that:

You’re picking keywords that Google finds relevant to pages directly competing with you.The keywords highlighted have a very high probability of being relevant to your page, too (as long as your page and your competitor pages are targeting the same audience with relatively similar services).You have eliminated unnecessary noise due to company-specific (brand or product name) keywords.

One of the other things I love about this methodology is that it can be equally well employed for nearly any kind of research. Looking for influencers in the industry? Repeat the same process, but simply change the data source to MajesticSEO or another source. Looking for social outreach? Repeat with Twitter follower information. Looking for content ideas? Leverage what topics multiple sites are publishing in your industry. The list is endless!

Try it out!

Some Cautionary Notes

This methodology is not for all situations — if you have a very unique product and competitors that are not very clearly defined (or competitors that don’t have well-targeted pages), this will not work.If you don’t have a good competitive landscape (meaning you are the dominant player and everyone else is sub-par), this will not yield quality results.If your data source is not reliable, the insights you gain will be limited.This methodology won’t necessarily find keywords that no one has thought of optimizing for, but it will buy you time and get you started with low hanging fruit while you research the hard-to-find gems.Following only this methodology is a recipe for M.A.D — Mutually Assured Destruction.

Stay tuned for Part 2 as we continue with Advanced SEO Analysis.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

4 SEO Recommendations For Dealing With B2B Lengthening Sales Cycles

Many of our clients face sales cycles in a six- to twelve-month duration. In a recent client interview, one of the sales directors revealed that they were on the verge of closing a multi-million dollar deal that took nearly three years of nurturing alone to finally get to the proposal process. With multiple decision makers and departments impacting complete B2B solutions, marketing plays a pivotal role.

A recent news release, which summarized a comprehensive survey of B2B marketing professionals put together by BtoB Magazine and Bizo revealed that the sales cycle is lengthening for many B2B companies. This puts further pressure on marketing professionals to improve brand awareness and lead generation. At the same time, B2B marketers need to implement programs which nurture new and existing lead prospects through a prolonged buying process.

The challenges of a lengthy B2B sales cycle are not new to marketing professionals. In 2011, a MarketingSherpa article highlighting their B2B Marketing Benchmark Report revealed that the lengthening sales cycle was the third-most-pressing challenge for B2B marketers, behind lead generation (quality and quantity).

A lengthening B2B sales cycle challenges marketers in the following ways:

How to effectively keep the organization’s brand in front of a sales prospect bombarded with informationHow to differentiate the brand from competitive offerings and informationHow to reach multiple decision makers that might influence the buying processHow to justify the value of marketing programs and tactics

Leveraging B2B SEO initiatives can be critical when tackling lengthy sales cycles. Here are four SEO recommendations designed to help alleviate the pressure of a lengthening sales cycle in a B2B organization.

Authorship

As daunting as it may seem to get invested in another tactical marketing initiative, Google+, in coordination with Google’s Authorship program, presents clear opportunities for brands to differentiate themselves within search engine results. A successful authorship initiative:

Shows thought leadership in search engine results through name (and face) recognitionProvides a new method for prospects to communicate to the organization individually or through Google+ PagesHelps branded content rank more prominently in search engine results based on the success of authored posts and social media shares associated with them

Search Engine Land has a comprehensive article with instructions on how to implement Google Authorship Markup, and I would recommend following articles in the Google Authorship category, since updates and changes to Google+ can be rather frequent (and often difficult to follow).

For B2B organizations concerned about brand development and thought leadership in search engine results, authorship tagging is a critical first step.

Social Media Network Analysis

Search engine marketers traditionally analyze social media profiles for target users that may generate links and improve the reach of an SEO program. Social media analysis also provides SEO professionals the ability to uncover related influencers and network associations that might impact the buying process within a target organization.

Use FollowerWonk to uncover profiles Twitter users follow that have influence and are also associated to the organization. A good place to start is with company/brand profiles and associated social media managers. Another method is through coordinated PR efforts, uncovering industry influencers based on targeted trade publications.Once discovered, name-specific search queries in Google or Bing can uncover related social media profiles. We primarily look for LinkedIn and Google+ associations.If email information is known, the Rapportive browser add-on helps identify associated social media profiles.Explore LinkedIn profile information to uncover industry groups and professional connections.

By uncovering related social media connections in the organization, B2B SEO professionals provide the starting point for identifying the types of content assets that support multiple touch points in the buying cycle.

Content Marketing Optimization

Incorporate SEO tactics into all content marketing initiatives. As revealed in the 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks report, B2B content marketers are engaged in an average of twelve tactics for their organization. Tying these tactics together with keyword strategy and keyword optimization, and internal/external cross-linking, should significantly boost the long-term value of this material in organic search engine results.

Best practices to consider:

Optimize key SEO page elements (HTML Titles, Meta Descriptions, Open Graph Tags, etc.Incorporate keyword strategy into on-page materialDevelop copy surrounding assets that search engines find more difficult to interpret, i.e., graphics, videos, PDF files, etc.Integrate social sharing elements and cross-links to related materialImplement conversion opportunities or event tracking to measure performance

The concept of content marketing has become an essential component of the SEO campaign because of its importance in providing visibility for keywords and enabling link acquisition.

Utilize Reporting Data To Make More Informed Content Decisions

The impact that “not provided” keyword referrals, search personalization, and localization have on keyword monitoring has created the necessity for B2B SEO’s to better evaluate overall content performance. Web traffic and visitor reporting tools such as Google Analytics are essential in this endeavor.

Broad visibility and quality metrics help B2B marketers justify the investment in content marketing initiatives and SEO strategy.

Metrics to monitor include:

Page views and entrance data associated with SEO landing pages and content marketing assetsDownloads and page views traced back to sales prospects, often found in marketing automation tool reportsLinks acquired to content marketing assets, as uncovered in Google or Bing Webmaster Tools and link monitoring solutions such as Open Site ExplorerSocial mentions associated to content marketing assets — in particular, mentions from influencers, sales prospects, and link building efforts

The steps in this process can be applied across marketing channels to make more informed decisions on new content initiatives and their potential impact in lead nurturing programs.

Final Thoughts

B2B SEO professionals offer a range of tactics designed to improve lead nurturing programs and help establish brand awareness. Authorship helps differentiate the brand in search, social media analysis uncovers related personnel in prospect organizations, and the optimization of content marketing assets extends their life online, hopefully generating more leads, as well.

Traffic and visitor reporting and analysis ties everything together through the validation (hopefully) of content marketing and SEO strategy, helping B2B marketers better trace the leads created to sales and revenue.

How are SEO tactics evolving in your organization’s marketing strategy to support complex sales cycles regardless of whether they are getting longer or not? I would love to read your thoughts and perspective via comments below.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

Google Commerce Search Is On The Chopping Block

Despite attracting several high-profile retailers, it seems Google is quietly shuttering Commerce Search. TechCrunch reported that the company is moving away from its hosted enterprise search product in favor of lighter (and less expensive) solutions.

“We are making a strategy shift towards offering more flexible, easier to adopt modules for retailers, such as the Search As You Type widget,” said a Google spokesperson in a statement issued to TechCrunch.

Google Commerce Search (GCS) launched in 2009 to offer merchants features designed specifically for e-commerce sites. Features included product recommendations, customized ranking and filtering capabilities, promotions and attribute boosting.

Search As You Type was also a feature in GCS. Google launched it in pilot mode as a standalone product in July, 2012. It remains in pilot and is available only to merchants in the U.S. who are active AdWords advertisers. You can see it in action on Lowes.com, which is a launch partner.

The Google spokesperson added that the company will continue to support existing Commerce Search customers, which include GNC, Panasonic and Forever 21, but that the goal will be to migrate them to alternate solutions. Google Commerce Search pricing started at $25,000 per year. Search As You Type is free, up to a maximum of 25 million queries a year, after which “standard licensing fees” apply.

Bitly Launches Search Platform & Reputation Monitoring For Shortened Links

Bitly currently is the leader in shortned URLs, minimizing 80 million URLs each day. Not only is Bitly shrinking URLs, but they are now “crawling & classifying” each shortened URL thanks to a a new social search platform. An index has since been created that will allow searchers to view the most distributed, viral and highest clicked links on the web.

Currently these results can be seen when using the new “reputation monitoring” tool that is being released to enterprise users; a traditional search engine will not accompany this platform.

Bitly makes a case for their real-time search using “onStar” as an example as the company faced some controversy last month:

The results shown are reminiscent of Topsy, one of the leading real-time search engines. However Topsy is a true social search engine and pulls in posts and comments as well as just links:

One of the largest reasons that I believe this search platform will be valuable is the wealth of proprietary click data that Bitly has to offer. While most social search platforms simply see shares, Bitly has the power to tie in the most “frequently clicked” results as well.  Bitly also stated the following about their release:

“… instead of pagerank we’re using a different filter — for any given search query, we display the stories that we predict will get the most attention over the next 24 hours. Then we use bitly’s analytics to refine our predictions in realtime. Our search technology is based on the the most valuable measure of engagement: the click.”

Bitly will be launching this social search powered reputation management functionality for enterprise users within the next two weeks. Follow the Bitly enterprise blog for more information on the social search platform.

Keeping Visitors Engaged With Site Search

B2B sites tend to be more difficult for visitors to find what they’re looking for. Perhaps it’s because things don’t always fit neatly into more intuitive consumer categories. Perhaps it’s because B2B sites are often laden with so much diverse information. While site owners can engineer enhanced usability, better optimize and structure content, or create better organic landing pages, none of these options is a quick fix. Google’s Site Search offers a quick, inexpensive way to keep visitors engaged and (hopefully) get them quickly to their destination on your site.

We’ve all clicked on promising organic search results and been quickly disappointed that the landing page doesn’t contain what we’re looking for. In many cases I’ll often land at a site I’m fairly certain contains what I want, so I’ll take a few clicks through the site’s navigation. But if I don’t find what I want in a few clicks, I don’t have the patience to keep searching. I’ll go to another site. All of us see these visits in our analytics, too. A four-page, 20-second visit. Then, they’re gone.

Site search functionality offers a way to keep visitors engaged a while longer. If visitors don’t quickly find what they want through navigation, they may try the site’s search tool. Many B2B visitors will go to the site’s search tool right away as an alternative to navigating to find an answer.

While many larger sites have already have site search functions, more often than not I’ve been disappointed with their search results. When I’m looking for a specific product or service, I’ll get hundreds of search results, but the first 30 results will be investor news releases or obscure technical articles. The results aren’t relevant to my quest. Not only do I leave without my desired answer, I’ve also formed some negative perceptions of the company and its website.

Last week, Google relaunched its rebranded custom search engine as Google Site Search. I think it’s a good answer for many B2B sites. It doesn’t cost much. Pricing depends on the number of pages indexed and the number of annual queries. For a site with less than 5,000 pages and less than 250,000 annual search queries, the cost is $100 per year. Pretty reasonable.

Getting all of your content indexed by Google can be a challenge, especially with large B2B sites. Google Site Search offers the opportunity of deeper site indexing for site-specific search. While this deeper site indexing won’t get more pages indexed by Google or help you in your Google rankings for web searches at Google.com, it will help you ensure all of your pages are reflected in the index of your site’s Google Site Search. This means searchers will get different (and likely better) results using Google’s Site Search on your site than if they used Google.com to search for information on your site (e.g., incorporating site:www.yoursite.com into the Google query).

Google’s site search also gives site owners the opportunity to “bias” the search results in a couple ways. For sites in which new content is typically more important, site owners can ensure search results are more heavily weighted to newer site content. Site owners can also bias search results to reflect certain sections of the site more than others, e.g., product-related pages more than company-information pages. This can help drive searchers more quickly to revenue-generating pages.

If you don’t have search capabilities on your B2B site, it makes sense to spend $100 to try it. There’s not much you can do for $100 these days. So try it out. Then watch your analytics. Notice what visitors search for. That alone is great information. Also, see if your bounce rates decline, or if the average time on your site goes up materially. And watch your conversion rates.

If you already have search functionality on your site, you still may want to test out Google Site Search. Set it up and do some comparative searches. See if you think the search results are more relevant or if the user experience is better. I’m not sure if Google’s Site Search will be better than what you already have (and I’m not trying to sell Google’s Site Search), but again, for $100, it’s worth a test.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

Google Launches Custom Search Business Edition

Google has announced a beefed-up version of Google Custom Search, a site search product aimed at small and medium sized businesses. The new service is hosted by Google and offers all of the same functionality of the free Google Custom Search product, with a few key differences:

Customized search results. You can change the look and feel of search results to match the underlying design of a website, using a relatively straightforward XML API provided by Google.

Optional ads. With the free version of Google Custom Search, Google displays ads alongside search results. With the Business Edition, ads in search results are optional.

Dedicated enterprise support. The new service offers both email & phone support,

Optional Google branding. Don’t want the Google logo on your search results? You can easily turn it off.

Custom Search Business Edition starts at $100 a year for searching up to 5,000 pages and extends to $500 for 50,000 pages. Larger volumes of pages are supported through Google’s enterprise sales group. For smaller sites, businesses can sign up using a credit card for payment, and get a site search up and running quickly using a simple online interface.

To see an example of Google Custom Search Business Edition in action, see Holiday Home Rental, an online directory of 25,000 holiday rental homes with more than 150,000 pages of content. More information about the new service at the Google Custom Search Engine page.

FAST Buys Recommendations Engine AgentArts

Enterprise search provider FAST Search & Transfer has acquired personalization platform and recommendations engine AgentArts. The technology will be folded into FAST’s various enterprise search offerings, which include a range of site search and monetization options for online publishers. The company also has a mobile search partnership with InfoSpace.

FAST has positioned itself as a complete platform to help publishers of all stripes essentially compete with Google and avoid dependence on AdSense and other third-party contextual ad networks.

Inform To Power Site Search, Content Aggregation For Major Publishers

According to the Wall Street Journal (subscription required), “Inform Technologies LLC, which is based in New York, said 16 online publications plan to include its new search function. Among them are WashingtonPost.Newsweek Interactive’s Newsweek.com and Conde Nast’s Portfolio.com.”

Inform began life a couple of years ago as a consumer destination site and news aggregator. Failing to gain traction (partly because it was too complex), it more recently reinvented itself as a publisher site search and platform provider.

The idea behind using Inform’s technology is to provide better on-site search and related news/content search from third-party sites. That potentially turns all the Inform-powered sites into news aggregators themselves. The aspiration is to provide a better user experience and more utility and boost page views, which in turn means more ad revenue for publishers.

Feds Spur Demand For Enterprise Info-Discovery Tools

Corporate spending for electronic-discovery services, estimated at roughly $1.77 billion in 2006, is expected to increase by more than a third to $2.42 billion this year, according to the Wall Street Journal. The reason? New Federal Rules of Civil Procedure passed by Congresss that are accelerating deadlines for companies to identify and describe electronically searchable information that can be used as evidence in a lawsuit.

From the WSJ’s Search Software Gets Boost From New Rules:

“The rules require that all relevant, nonprivileged and reasonably accessible information that can be used as evidence must be produced. In corporate lawsuits, parties are given 99 days to agree on a formal procedure outlining what information is to be produced, when it is to be made available and the form in which it is sent to the other party. These rules apply to both U.S. and foreign companies that are sued under federal law.”

The electronic discovery market is split between software and service providers.